Clashindarroch Beast: 'Enormous' Wildcat Caught on Camera Is One of the Largest Ever Recorded

Incredible footage has emerged of a wildcat thought to be one of the largest ever recorded anywhere in the world, according to Scottish conservation charity Wildcat Haven.

The video—which was captured by camera traps in Clashindarroch Forest in the northeast of the country— shows a Scottish wildcat estimated to measure more than four feet from the nose to the tip of the tail.

The cat has been named the "Clashindarroch Beast" by Kev Bell, the researcher who set the trap that captured the video—in which the animal can be seen tentatively stepping onto a log in the dead of night.

"I've been monitoring the wildcats in this area for about two years now and been fortunate to get footage of quite a few of these ghost cats; there's about 10 to 15 of them here in the Clashindarroch," Bell said in a statement. "I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw this cat, he is enormous, a magnificent animal."

The Scottish wildcat, otherwise known as the Highland tiger, is a subspecies of the European wildcat that has been isolated from its continental brethren for 9,000 years by the English Channel. They are the largest type of wildcat—a group that also includes the African wildcat species—and can grow up to twice the size of domestic cats.

Their fur is thicker than that of domestic cats and is characterized by distinctive unbroken black and brown stripes. Like all felines, they have retractable claws, exceptional night vision, part-color day vision, excellent hearing and are adept at sprinting and pouncing on prey, according to Wildcat Haven.

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A Scottish wildcat. Footage has emerged of one of the largest wildcats ever recorded. Christopher Allen

The cat is the only wild feline left on the island of Great Britain but its range, which once extended from England to Wales and southern Scotland, has been severely reduced over the last 150 years. The population—which is primarily threatened by hybridization with domestic cats, according to Scottish National Heritage—is thought to number between just 100 and 300 individuals, making it one of the rarest animals in the world.

In fact, some experts argue that there are no true Scottish wildcats, with zero DNA from domestic cats, left.

The camera traps used to make the latest sighting are being used to track the elusive species in order to aid conservation efforts. A number have been placed in areas where researchers believe the cats live. They are baited with food or scent and any time something moves in front of the camera, it captures 30 seconds of footage.

"The cameras give us amazing insight to this priceless group of wildcats which have somehow survived here and avoided hybridization," Bell said. "Some people say that the wildcat doesn't exist anymore, but we know different and wildcats like 'The Beast' prove it. This is nothing like a domestic cat, and you certainly wouldn't want it sitting in your lap!"